After 2 years of the launch of Microsoft’s powerful hybrid laptop Surface Book, which is known best for being a standalone tablet as well as a Laptop with excellent features, Its time to review the newly launched Surface Book 2.
Microsoft has had its ups and down with their hardware and software releases but I think that we can all agree that they eventually become a part of the whole ecosystem. The surface line of products is Microsoft’s attempt at capturing the high end premium laptop market, long dominated by Apple’s Macbooks. While both of them go different routes on what the ideal premium laptop should be, both of them are essentially targeting the same customer base.
Microsoft’s Surface Book is a tablet/laptop hybrid right from the first generation. It is in Microsoft’s belief that we still need tablets but they should be a part of the whole package and we agree with them. Speaking of which, Microsoft just launched the brand new Surface Book 2, which is essentially an upgrade to the 2016 Surface Book. Let’s have a look at Microsoft Surface Book 2 reviews: You can view Surface Book 2 deals here >>
|SURFACE BOOK 2 13.5″ SPECIFICATIONS|
|BASE MODEL||BEST MODEL|
|SCREEN||3000*2000 13.5 inch (267 PPI), 10-point capacitive Pixel-sense touchscreen|
|OS||Windows 10 Pro|
|CPU||Intel 7th gen core i7-7300U||Intel 8th gen core i7-8650U|
|RAM||8GB LPDDR3||16GB LPDDR3|
|GPU||Intel UHD Graphics 620||Intel UHD Graphics 620 + NVIDIA GTX 1050 with 2GB GDDR5|
|SSD||256GB PCIe||1TB PCIe|
|NETWORKING||802.11ac/a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1|
|PORTS||2 USB 3.1 generation 1 Type-A, 1 USB 3.1 generation 1 Type-C with Power Delivery, SD, 3.5mm headset|
|CAMERAS||Back: 8MP autofocus, Video @ 1080p (30FPS)|
Front: 5MP, Video 1080p (30FPS), Facial recognition
|SIZE||12.3×9.14×0.51-0.90″ (312×232×13-23mm)||12.3×9.14×0.59-0.90″ (312×232×13-23mm)|
|WEIGHT||3.38lb (1.53kg)||3.62lb (1.64kg)|
|SENSORS||Ambient light sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer|
For starters, the new Surface Book 2 is a lot more powerful than its predecessor. It uses an 8th generation Intel Core i7 8650U for the top end model which is a proper quad core and not 2 cores with HT. In contrast, the Surface Book 2016 used the i7 6600U which was a dual core with HT. It is a very powerful CPU and Microsoft claims that it will easily handle demanding tasks like heavy image editing and video editing, so thumbs up for that. Sadly though, it only has one i5 model listed on its website which doesn’t seem like we can configure it, so you are limited to just 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage and no dedicated graphics card like the rest of the range.
The Surface Book 2, like its predecessor, features 16GB of RAM along with 256-1TB of Solid State Storage. This gives it blazing fast load and boot times and also makes it incredibly responsive for day to day usage.
It also has a pretty beefy dedicated graphics chip. The Surface Book 2 uses an Nvidia GTX 1050/1060 for handling graphics unlike the GTX 940M that was found on the older Surface book. What’s astonishing is the face that Microsoft essentially managed to fit it inside a shell that is identical to the older surface model and in normal mode. This GPU can easily handle AAA gaming like GTA V and The Witcher 3 at High to ultra-settings. Keep in mind though that thermal throttling will prevail for extended periods of gaming as thin laptops like these aren’t meant to dissipate all the heat like a dedicated cooler on a desktop graphics card.
The Surface Book 2, despite packing in all that hardware is rated for 17 Hours of battery life which is 7 more than the Macbook Pro. This is due to the fact that it has two batteries, one for each of the chamber. However take that time with a grain of salt as a GTX 1060 under load can be very battery consuming and during extended sessions of the GPU use, it might cut off. Also making matters worse is the fact that the supplied Microsoft charger is rated at 102 watts which isn’t enough to keep up with the power draw from the 1060.
Coming to design and display, the Surface Book 2 still uses the phenomenal Pixel Sense display which is comes at a higher resolution of 3240×2160 (almost 4k!) for the 15 inch model which looks way sharper than the Macbook Pro’s 2880×1800 resolution. Each display is factory calibrated individually for lifelike colours and contrast. It also has four I/O ports, two of which are full sized USB 3.1 ports and one USB Type-C port. It also has a headphone jack placed in a rather awkward position at the top of the screen.
The Surface Book does have its fair share of flaws like the still wobbly screen and no Thunderbolt port which is a missed opportunity. But it does differentiate itself with the detachable touchscreen with Microsoft pen input support, very powerful CPU and GPU and the full sized USB ports should at least cut down on buying additional dongles for USB devices. The Surface Book however isn’t cheap, starting at $1499 for the basic model which goes up to $3299 for the top end one. But it’ll definitely cater to a certain group of people looking for a portable laptop with top of the line performance.